That a risk to mental health will not have to be assessed by a psychiatrist is “an astonishing black hole in the government’s bill” Save the 8th has said.

The organisation was responding to this morning’s debate on the Today Sean O’Rourke programme on RTE radio one between Declan Ganley and Colm O’Gorman.

In the debate, Mr. Ganley exposed the fact that under head 4 of the general scheme of legislation put forward by the Government, there is no requirement for a psychiatrist to assess a woman’s mental health before an abortion is performed on mental health grounds.

The legislation specifies that “an appropriate medical practitioner” and an obstetrician must be involved in the decision. Under Irish law, “medical practitioner” is anyone with a basic medical qualification.

Commenting, Niamh UiBhriain of Save the 8th said:

“It is astonishing but true that under these proposals, an abortion could be performed on a healthy unborn baby, just weeks away from being able to survive outside the womb, on the grounds of mental health, without the woman ever being assessed by a mental health specialist.

This is the bill that the Government is calling “restrictive”.

Last week, Simon Harris called our posters about abortion at six months “a big lie”. It is becoming more and more clear who the real liar is.

It is right there in the bill – all the voters have to do is read it. The word “psychiatrist” does not appear once. The words “mental health specialist” do not appear once.

In the UK, 97% of all abortions happen on mental health grounds. The legislation requires two doctors, neither of whom must be a psychiatrist, to assess the woman. In Ireland, there is no need even for a doctor.

This bill, as we have said from the start, is objectively more liberal and more extreme than the UK law. Under it, a healthy baby can be aborted up to six months on mental health grounds, without the mother ever being seen by a mental health professional. That is a statement of objective fact, and the Government cannot deny it”.